“I enjoy listening to people, being helpful, and working together to find solutions that benefit everyone. That’s always been at the core of my educational, professional, and family life, as well as in public service.”
Education and Architectural Career
Jeanne MacLeamy grew up in Flint, Michigan and earned a Bachelors Degree from the School of Architecture at the University of Michigan. Her early professional career included being Vice President of Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, one of the world’s leading architectural firms where she was project architect and manager for The San Francisco Moscone Convention Center, the University of Alaska Physical Education Center, and the Stanford University Cecil H. Green Graduate Library.
As a licensed California architect, Jeanne started her own firm more than 30 years ago. During that time, she has been responsible for a wide variety of new buildings and renovations throughout Marin and the Bay Area, including educational, commercial, sports, recreation and residential. Of particular note are the Novato Rolling Hills Club and the Saint Mark’s School Art & Science and Gymnasium buildings.
Jeanne as a Volunteer
With her life-long commitment to volunteerism, Jeanne has served as Chair of the San Francisco Junior League Professional Women, Board Member of the San Francisco Exploratorium Museum, Board Chair at Saint Mark’s School, and positions with various homeowners associations. She and a friend initiated a science program at Dixie School that won the prestigious Golden Bell award. Jeanne and husband Patrick led a successful community effort to purchase 178 acres of Novato’s pristine natural environment (including a spectacular waterfall!) and preserve it as permanent open space.
During her 6-year tenure on the Novato Design Review Committee, she initiated the workshop process that engaged neighbors and developers early on, and recommended Hillside and Ridgeline Ordinances to the City Council. She remains true to her belief that new developments should be appropriate for their sites, their neighborhoods, and the character of the community.
Jeanne first ran successfully for Novato City Council in 2003 and was reelected in 2007 and 2011. Jeanne has served as Novato Mayor three times.
Boards and Committees
Jeanne has served on numerous Boards and Committees during her public service:
- Marin Emergency Radio Authority (MERA) – Governing Board
- League of California Cities – Revenue and Taxation Policy Committee
- North Bay Watershed Association – Member
- Novato Finance Authority – Board of Directors Chair
- Marin County Council of Mayors and Councilmembers (MCCMC) – Pension and O.P.E.B. Committee Member
- Novato City Hall Renovation – Subcommittee Chair
- Paint the Town Red – Committee Member
- 4th of July Parade – Committee Member
- Spring Egg Hunt – Committee Member
- Holiday Tree Lighting – Committee Member
- City Hall Buy a Brick Campaign – Committee Member
- Novato 50 Year Anniversary Committee – Steering Committee
While Jeanne was serving on the Novato Design Review Committee, she was asked by Rotary to help the Nova Ro III project on Redwood Boulevard be more appropriate in mass and scale with the neighborhood.
Her suggestions were taken, the project was approved by Council and built.
Rotary named Jeanne a Paul Harris Fellow in 2002, in part for her assistance with Nova Ro III project.
In 2002 Saint Mark’s School named its newest building the Jeanne MacLeamy Arts & Science Building in recognition of her many years of service as a volunteer and architect for the school.
The American Institute of Architects elected Jeanne to the AIA College of Fellows in 2015 in recognition of her contributions as a Citizen Architect. In announcing her Fellowship, the Nominating Committee stated:
“Citizen Architect Jeanne MacLeamy, as Mayor and Councilmember, led the effort to restore the heart and preserve the edge of Novato, California, avoiding the homogenizing fate of so many towns across America.”
Jeanne and her husband, Patrick, moved to Novato in 1984 with their young family. During the intervening years, Jeanne juggled duties as a wife and mother with those of architect and volunteer. Their two children have grown, married and added three beautiful grandchildren to the family.
The extended family gets together regularly for birthdays, holidays and annual reunions. Jeanne has added grandmother “duties” to her architecture and public service activities!